This paper argues that in order to understand the proliferation of new literary and cultural forms that circulate in India today, we need to envision a new role for the critic, one that is shaped not by distance and skepticism but by engagement and intimacy with the texts she seeks to engage. Drawing on the multi-media works of documentary filmmaker Paromita Vohra, including her newest web-based project Agents of Ishq, which probes the diverse worlds of love and sexuality in the new India, Dr. Anjaria ask: What would it look like to read the contemporary landscape with, in Vohra’s words, “a loving eye”? What new understandings of the Indian present might such critical vulnerability engender?
Ulka Anjaria is a Professor of English at Brandeis University. She is the author of Realism in the Twentieth-Century Indian Novel: Colonial Difference and Literary Form and editor of A History of the Indian Novel in English.